According to a new study published by researchers at UC Berkeley, UCLA, and Stanford University, children from lower socio-economic backgrounds (SES) perform behind students from higher SES backgrounds on tests of intelligence and academic achievement. In addition, lower SES students are impaired in behavioral measures representing functions of the prefrontal cortex of the brain.
The study demonstrates neurophysiological impairment in the prefrontal cortexes of lower SES children, compared to their higher SES peers. However the specific cause of this impairment has not been pinpointed. Researchers speculate that the stresses of living in poverty, combined with a lack of cognitively stimulating experiences and environments may have some physiological affect on the brain. Further research will be needed to identify both the causes of and possible treatments for this condition.